Sister Carol Dwyer
|Sister Carol Dwyer, back center, at a weekend workshop she facilitated in Salvador with Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart.
|Sister Carol Dwyer, standing second from left, with participants in one of the spiritual exercise retreats that she accompanied in Guatemala.|
Giving God a chance
Taught by SSNDs at Mission Church Parish grammar and high schools in Roxbury, Massachusetts, Sister Carol Dwyer entered the congregation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame immediately after graduating from high school at age 18.
“I felt I was being drawn,” Sister Carol said. “I had felt I wanted to get married and have a family, but there was this other pull. I knew I had to try it, to know whether this was for me or not for me.
“It was a pull. To be at peace, I wanted to give God a chance. I wanted to find out if this was what God was calling me to.”
She remembers that she loved her years in Wilton, Connecticut, where she was a postulant and novice. She was in a formation class of 39 and had high school friends who also had entered the congregation in Wilton.
An answered prayer
After she professed her religious vows, Sister Carol was missioned to St. Joseph’s Lake Ronkonkoma on Long Island, where she taught third grade and lived in community with eight School Sisters of Notre Dame.
Two and a half years later, some months before it was time for renewal of vows, she received a timely call from her provincial leader who invited her to go to Puerto Rico. Sister Carol had been in the process of discerning whether or not to renew her vows. She had been asking God to let her know if she was called to religious life.
Her prayer was answered in this call, yet she was very surprised to receive this invitation as she had never volunteered to go to Puerto Rico. Upon hanging up the phone, with only two days to consider her response, she already knew she would say ‘yes.”
A grace received
Sister Carol went to Puerto Rico hoping that God would act in her life and show her the way. She was not disappointed.
Sister Carol was in Puerto Rico for 23 years in a variety of ministries, and she earned her Master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry by taking classes during the summers at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
“It was a wonderful experience being able to live and work in another culture,” Sister Carol said. “We really are all one. That is one of the truths one can come to know and experience living in another culture. I grew to love the people as brothers and sisters, and they me. It was a grace I received.”
A new challenge
In the years since, Sister Carol has ministered in the Chicago area and Guatemala. Last year, she returned to Chicago when she became the postulant director for the School Sisters of Notre Dame in North America.
“I am so grateful to be a school Sister of Notre Dame,” Sister Carol said. “God has been so gracious. I have been stretched and have grown through my many life experiences. This call is a new challenge. God hasn’t finished with me yet. I will need the loving support and prayer of my sisters in this new ministry.”